Over my 30-year career, I would honestly struggle to recall a market that is as competitive for employees as the one we’re currently facing. With an economy that’s recovering quicker than expected and high demand for candidates to fill urgently required roles, employers are locked in this ongoing battle, fighting competitors for the best and brightest talent. We hear about this challenge across our client base, every day.
Collectively, we’ve overcome the somewhat overhyped ‘Great Resignation’, where instead of widespread resignations, what has actually emerged in the market is a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of what employers are experiencing and what has been more accurately defined as the ‘Great Reshuffle’.
In the Great Reshuffle, employees’ attitudes to what is important in their work and their lives have significantly changed. For good.
It’s clear to me that a focus on flexibility and fulfilment within careers, where employees are actively seeking roles that empower their lifestyles and enable them to fit work into their lives (rather than the other way around) is the clear priority going forward.
Now more than ever, organisations need to be considering how they can build a reputation and profile as a highly attractive employer in order to retain and attract talent whilst remaining both relevant and competitive, especially in an employment market as tight and as tough as what we’re experiencing.
So, what’s changed? Apart from closed borders and net emigration, the context around benefits and differentiators has fundamentally changed. The staples of employer benefits and attributes prior to the pandemic — like better salaries, lifestyle and health benefits and social and networking events, aren’t going to cut it in a market where employees (both current and potential) have experienced a greater level of flexibility than ever before.
Because if they’re not in the office, why do these matter as much to them anymore? Alas, they simply don’t.
Employee benefits are often so similar, they have become threshold expectations, not differentiators.
As many creative and digital marketing organisations solidify some form of hybrid working environment, what can your business do to differentiate its employer brand from the pack?
The role and importance of an employee value proposition (EVP)
I’ve always been of the belief that strong brands are built from the inside out, and that companies who align their employer brand with their client-facing brand are the most successful in delivering on their brand promise from both a customer experience and employee experience point of view. This sums to become the potency of a connected employer brand.
What sits at the heart of every great EVP?
The overarching goal of any EVP is to articulate a compelling and connected brand that reflects the inherent opportunity within a career at your organisation. It is also designed to empower each employee and enable them to understand and connect their role to the overarching intent and purpose of your business.
Regardless of function, tenure or position, a strong EVP should support the initiatives and direction within your business, and positively contribute to building the overall culture of your organisation.
An EVP needs to inspire your current employees as much as those you are looking to attract, and from my perspective should always be the focus as retaining them becomes more challenging in this market.
It’s as much about protecting your existing workforce as attracting new employees.
If you are looking to build out your employer brand and EVP, think about the ways in which your brand can articulate:
- Your offer for both current and potential employees. This involves defining the unique characteristics of your brand’s employee experience to sort people in and out.
- The evidence and proof points — why they should listen, why should they care, and most importantly, why should they align themselves with your brand over another? True authenticity here is critical.
- What you as a business and employer expect in return — what type of person wouldn’t fit in at your business?
So, is your employer brand actually ready for the Great Reshuffle?
Your EVP is one of the few opportunities to truly differentiate your brand and employment offer from the sea of sameness. In this market of seemingly unending flux, a strong employer brand and EVP brings resilience and confidence to your business and is critical to cut through the clutter and demonstrate a commitment to employees that you are investing in their careers.
To read more about the importance of a strong employer brand and employee value proposition, download The Guide To Employer Branding, a free eBook from Paul Nelson and the team at BrandMatters.